For a variety of reasons, partnering with customers has become ever more important in business. As a result of economic pressures, some companies have cut back on their research capabilities, which means that resources are scarcer. Also, there is a clearer realization that companies in different fields have their own specific areas of expertise to bring to a partnership, which can lead to new opportunities.
This month, we feature a series of articles that underscore the importance of companies working together, although each has its own unique situation. For example, The Resin Report, beginning on page 26, showcases the importance of resin manufacturers working with ink companies to develop new raw materials to satisfy the growing need for more environmentally friendly products. There is also an economic component, as ink companies search for products that will help provide higher value while reducing total cost.
The theme of partnerships is also found in Sean Milmo’s article detailing work being done by paper, press and equipment and ink manufacturers, beginning on page 16. For example, by pooling together research efforts, new high-quality paper products offering better performance at a lower cost are being developed. In another example, ink companies are working with other print suppliers together to try to solve common problems on press, with the hope that once the cause of the problems are determined, solutions will soon follow.
Another example is found in The RFID Report, which starts on page 34. This is a wonderful example of the importance of collaboration, as groups of companies covering a wide range of disciplines are creating cutting-edge products for this emerging market. In the case of RFID and printed electronics, it would be extremely difficult at best for any single company to develop products for this emerging field, as so much expertise is entailed.
The theme of partnering will be very much in evidence at the upcoming drupa 2008 in Dusseldorf, Germany, later this month. Ink manufacturers will showcase their latest products, many of which have developed through collaboration with customers. Quite a few of these new inks will be found on the presses running throughout the exhibition.
The increased emphasis on companies working together to solve problems and develop new products is ultimately a welcome one, both from the standpoint of sharing expertise and for economic reasons, as all stand to benefit from the partnership.